As many other states with legal adult-use cannabis (and some without) have done, Maine lawmakers will soon consider a handful of bills to expunge or seal past cannabis convictions. At this stage, however, legislators are only weighing bill titles related to those policies. Lawmakers say they haven’t yet drafted specific details about the policies or how the state would implement them. But two competing approaches are currently emerging.
Maine Lawmakers are Developing Competing Approaches to Past Marijuana Convictions
Three state representatives and one state senator have each proposed their own bill title related to cannabis convictions. But the four proposals fall into two basic camps. Both Rep. Richard Farnsworth’s (D-Orono) and Sen. James Dill’s (D-Portland) bills would actually expunge all prior non-violent misdemeanor cannabis possession convictions, as several states including California, Washington, and Maryland and some major municipalities like Denver and Brooklyn have done. In short, Maine would delete those convictions from people’s records. On the other hand, Both Rep. Justin Fecteau (R-Augusta) and Rep. Rachel Talbot Ross (D-Portand) have proposed sealing rather than expunging past convictions. Sealing means the convictions stay on record, but prospective employers or the public cannot see them. Data about the number of people who